Someone wrote me earlier today, wondering why I’d not written about Pat Tillman’s death. The writer also made reference to the MilBlogs ring I’ve posted.

For those who don’t know, Tillman was an NFL player, and a pretty fair one at that. I don’t need to tell you NFL players haul in money by the plane load. Tillman turned it down, instead going into the Army. He was killed in action near the Pakistan/Afghan border on Thursday.

Well, even though the question was put in a hostile manner, it’s a fair enough question to ask. I guess the reason is I’d not really come to terms with it yet. At least, I’d not gotten to the point where I could write proper words and descriptions of what I’m thinking on that subject.

I have a small mountain of respect for Tillman.  I have sympathy for his family, his loved ones, his buddies in the field. But I refuse to be caught in the trap of regarding the death of this one soldier as being of greater impact than the death of any other.  I will not hold the service of this one to be unequal to any other that serves us true.

I cannot dispute that Tillman gave up greater financial wealth to put on the uniform of his country, than most soldiers do. Certainly, he wasn’t after the glory, as one I’ve written of elsewhere on this page for months now, would seem to have done.  I don’t call THAT true service.

I had occasion, recently to see “The Glenn Miller Story” again, just recently, and am now struck by the parallels, as I have been in the past. Miller put on his uniform because he thought he could do some good in his country’s efforts against the Nazi threat. He ended up giving his life for his choice. Who knows where Miller’s music would have taken him, had he lived out his natural life, instead of ending up at the bottom of the English Channel.

Like Miller, Pat Tillman’s choice was about personal sacrifice, and of service… Service of an ideal he thought bigger than himself.

That kind of dedication is be cherished, certainly. But we must not allow ourselves to be swayed by the life position the soldier had, before he/she was a soldier. We must not allow that metric to guide us in the amount of respect shown them, be they living or dead after their service. They’re all worthy of the very same respect, living or dead. Not because of their having lived or died, not because of the amounts of money or positions they gave up, or what impact they had on us when they weren’t wearing the uniform, but because of their respect and understanding of the ideals that uniform represents. Ideals they hold highest.

We should hold them, ALL who serve us true, in our hearts. And Tillman would be, I suppose, among the first to agree with my thought.

I suppose I should clarify about true service…..Compare the record of Tillman vs that of one other in the public eye of late and see if you see any differences between them.


I posted these thoughts, somewhat refined, over at Castle Argghhh! and apparently the readership there agrees with my thinking, in large part. John even made my reply thjere a post in it’s own right. Nice of him, I thought.

As you check my reply, you’ll notice I fine tuned the meme about one person’s ‘serviuce’ in ‘nam, just a bit, ….just for clarity, you understand… :B-D=